Pandemic’s toll among journalists in Peru is especially high

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Dozens of journalists have died from COVID-19 in Peru since the pandemic began, in the highest reported death toll of media workers from the new coronavirus in Latin America, according to journalists’ groups that are monitoring available data.

As in many countries, the new coronavirus has hit virtually all sectors of society and areas in Peru, killing and sickening medical workers, teachers, street vendors, the unemployed and others. But emerging data on fatalities among journalists in Peru is among the highest in the world, although it is extremely difficult to confirm in many cases whether they got sick after covering pandemic news or doing other work.

Last week, a Catholic priest held a virtual Mass at a church for 22 journalists — 19 men and three women — that the College of Journalists of Lima said had died in the Lima area alone. Ricardo Burgos Rojas, the college dean, said many were freelancers and some worked for Panamericana Television, TV Peru, Agencia de Noticias Andina, Radio Exitosa and other outlets.

At least 82 reporters in Peru died from the disease between March 16, when Peru imposed a lockdown because of the health crisis, and Aug. 17, according to the association. Many were more than 65 years old, and several of those listed were retired.

The Peruvian toll is more than double the reported 40 deaths of journalists in neighboring Ecuador, and a total of 171 journalists in Latin America are reported to have died from the disease, according to the regional office of the International Federation of Journalists. However, the non-profit Fundamedios group said Aug. 11 that the death toll in Ecuador was 20.

Read more via AP

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